The first European-Chinese Business & Innovation Forum at the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, provided insights into the trends and perspectives regarding cooperation and competition between the economies of Europe and China. Over the course the event, international experts from the realms of politics, research and economics discussed the future development of European-Chinese economic relations. Mannheim is the only city in Germany to hold such a forum, which has been organised in cooperation with ZEW and the European Commission.

The speaker Sun Congbin during the European-Chinese Business & Innovation Forum
Sun Congbin, General Consul of the People's Republic of China, during his speech at ZEW.

“The Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region with the City of Mannheim as a major economic centre is characterised by an exceptionally high economic density, and it is an attractive location for innovative and young companies. This has, of course, not gone unnoticed by Chinese investors,” explained Dr. Georg Licht, head of the ZEW Research Department “Economics of Innovation and Industrial Dynamics”, during his speech at the forum.

“The challenges of the future lie in the cities, but the answers, too, lie in the cities,” said Manheim’s mayor, Dr. Peter Kurz. According to Kurz, Mannheim is an excellent choice for this first forum, since internationality is an integral part of day-to-day life in the city. “Mannheim is directly connected to the Rotterdam-Genoa freight corridor, which is the most important European transport route, generating the highest turnover in Europe. The Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region’s export ratio of over 60 per cent also underlines its close ties with foreign markets,” Kurz said. As one of Germany’s most important trading partners, China plays a key role in this regard, especially since the People’s Republic and the investment in the infrastructure project “New Silk Road” are of great economic and strategic significance for both Mannheim and local companies.

The mayor of Mannheim expressed his thanks to ZEW, the IUC programme, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce of the Palatinate and the Rhine-Neckar region, the Mannheim Business School as well as the State of Baden-Württemberg for a successful first event. “We look forward to many more such collaborative events and hope that this forum has had a signalling effect,” said Kurz.

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